April 25, 2007

John Skewes’ Great Tiki Soap Odyssey

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:23 pm
Bubbletown Tiki Soap-On-a-Rope
Bubbletown Tiki Soap-On-a-Rope

Product designer John Skewes has a wonderful story on his blog. Several years ago (2002, I think?), he designed the product shown here, a tiki soap-on-a-rope. He says it’s probably his favorite among the products he’s designed, because he got to come up with an original design (rather than using licensed characters), and he’s a tiki collector himself.

In his post, he walks through the process of coming up with a unique-but-still-true-to-tiki tiki design, finding inspiration in his own mug collection — and he touches on how plagiarism has always been pandemic in Polynesian Pop. The tiki soap sold pretty well, and as happens with tiki designs, it started to show up in other places…

Tiki lighters
Tiki lighters

…like these tiki lighters. Which explains why when I first started reading his post, I thought “hey, that’s the tiki lighter!” Some scoundrels totally stole the design! John even lines up his original concept sketch with the lighter, and bang howdy, it syncs right up.

As if that weren’t enough — John’s soap is one of the examples shown on a website demonstrating the effectiveness of a 3-D scanning tool… which was probably used by the folks who ripped off his design for the lighter.

Tiki design rip-offs, made easy!
Tiki design rip-offs, made easy!

John takes it all in stride, and is quite flattered. (Don’t take that as a sign that it’s okay to take his, or anyone else’s, designs — it’s bad juju!) Be sure to go check out his whole post, it’s always neat to see a tiki lover getting to bring their passion to work.

6 Responses to “John Skewes’ Great Tiki Soap Odyssey”

  1. Paula The Surf Mom Says:

    This is a great site… very unique

  2. JenTiki Says:

    This company that sells their candy/soap/candle molds on eBay clearly took this tiki mold directly from the lighter: link

  3. Humuhumu Says:

    Oh man… it all comes full circle back to soap again. That is too much.

  4. James Farrell Says:

    Hi Would be very interested in purcahasing Tiki soap on a rope andthe lighters. Do you sell wholesale?

    Many thanks in anticipation of your reply.

    Best wishes


  5. mia Says:

    I just came across this post and recognized the tiki immediately. My husband used to work as a visual designer (making the physical props) for Quiksilver and had a whole warehouse of tikis that were used in the design and I am 99.999% sure that we have a whole set of cups with that exact same tiki in the garage somewhere* – probably stolen design from the soap mold too. How terrible!

    *the props were used for cyclical sales pieces and when the sales were over, the pieces were discarded, which we couldn’t stand, so we have boxes full of “trash” decor items. Most of them are reproductions, but most of the things that he had in his warehouse were from flea markets and such. I guess I should look through them now and see if they can find some loving tiki homes!

  6. Doug Tull Says:

    Mia, do you have these items for sale? Would you possibly have photos of these items?

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies

Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures

I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog